Monday, January 12, 2015

Are Cheap Workout Clothes Worth It?



Q: Is it worth it to spend that extra cash on workout clothes?

A: It all depends, I suppose, on your level of fitness and the type of activity you are doing.

I have been building my collection of workout clothes for a number of years now. I began my fitness routine in running shorts with the occasional jaunt out, but most of my workouts were at the gym with my girlfriend. I didn't really know anything about gym wear at that time, so I just wore my athletic shorts and a shirt from a work project I had done (little did I know there was so much more to active wear). 

Eventually, I added yoga pants to my wardrobe when I began taking classes at the gym.  Shortly after that I picked up running full time and it was downhill from there (so to speak).

I have bought workout gear from many retail stores including Target, Sports Authority, Sports Chalet, Forever 21, H and M, Nike, Under Armour, and local boutiques. 

Of all of my purchases, Forever 21 and H & M are the place to go for the fashion conscious FIThusiast on a budget. 

I recently bought some clothing at Forever 21 and I love their styles and the affordability of the clothing. Within two washes their pants began to show LOTS of wear. One pair got a hole in the leg and on another pair of pants, the colors bled together.  I never had this problem with other pants (I expect pants to show wear within a few washes, like pilling or fading, but this was a total bummer).  I also bought a pair of pants that are totally adorable (which is why I bought them) and have received many compliments on them.  The only problem is that I can really only wear them for walking. They aren't great running crops and the seam doesn't allow for much pliability, so it makes it difficult to do any exercise that would require this (all of the ones that I enjoy).
I do like Forever 21 sport bras and tops. I haven't seen any excessive wear on them and also appreciate their labels on their sport bras (Minimal support, Maximum support).
I find that H & M is a reasonable place as well and have made several purchases there.  Their pants seem to have held up much better than the Forever 21 pants. They wear and feel like a more expensive pair with ventilation and show common wear after over 60 washes.  




The pro and con breakdown with these cheap alternatives:

Pros:
Cute styles similar to expensive
Price
Tops are best
H & M pants are a good option
Forever 21 has a good sports bra option

Cons:
Purpose can be unclear (running tights vs. compression tights)
Fade/Bled
Wear easily
Pilling
Lose form/tightness sooner

When selecting training gear, it is important to take into account how hard you are working, how often, and what type of sport. You can pretty much wear whatever you want walking, but when it comes to running/racing, you need to be more picky with your gear. Colder temps require some lining or technology and warmer temps need some breathability in the clothes.



Personally, I feel the extra buck is worth spending on a quality pair of pants. 

The really quality running tights and/or leggings can run from $40-$140 so be warned :)


What is your favorite workout brand?




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